Senate and House committee votes that may determine the future of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) are approaching in the US Congress. On Tuesday (tomorrow) the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing to markup a tax-extenders bill. The Committee will then vote to recommend the bill on Wednesday, April 2nd.
While WOTC is almost assured to be included in the Senate’s extender bill, it is not immune to amendments. WOTC proponents hope to stave off any detrimental changes, keeping the program intact until it can be revisited later in the context of comprehensive tax reform.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (Democrat from Oregon), stated on Thursday,
I am hopeful we can reach a bipartisan agreement on extenders in the days ahead,” Wyden said in a statement. “This means jobs and much-needed certainty for families and businesses alike. But let me be clear – I’m determined that this is the last time we do extenders and would like to leverage this last extension to reform the broken tax code.
The immediate outlook for WOTC in the US House of Representatives, however, is somewhat bleak. Rather than considering a comprehensive extenders bill, the House Ways and Means Committee has laid out a schedule to individually review each tax-extender, including WOTC. Those the Committee likes will be recommended for permanent status. All others are headed for the trash heap.
Obviously, this is at odds with the Senate Finance Committee’s plan for a tax-extenders bill. But worse than that, Representative David Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is on record opposing an extension of WOTC. It’s quite possible that WOTC could be defeated in the House during this, the very first round of the House’s tax-reform process.
Last week, Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, painted the situation in this way:
The situation is critical because Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp is against continuing WOTC—he is going to urge his Committee to vote against the motion to make WOTC permanent. The Chairman has called for another hearing on WOTC and says he is willing to listen—and he has listened. Several times over the past two years our delegations have met with Chairman Camp and each time his opposition to WOTC has grown stronger.
In the coming vote, WOTC Coalition will be pushing against the committee chairman, and the committee chairman will be holding the cards. The power of every committee chairman lies in getting his members to vote with him. Members sympathetic to WOTC won’t want to cross their chairman who is the “go to” person when they need something.
How then can we win the vote in Ways and Means? We laid out our lobbying plan two years ago—we must assure the votes of all 16 Democrats on the Committee, and at the same time get 4 Republicans to cross party lines and vote for WOTC against the chairman. That will provide a majority of 20, just enough to carry the motion to make WOTC permanent.
If you support WOTC, it’s time to contact each Republican Member of the House Ways and Means Committee from your state and each state where you do business. Help your clients to do the same.
Here is a list of the Republican members. The WOTC Coalition recommends that you do not lobby Aaron Schock of Illinois or Lynn Jenkins of Kansas. Both of these gentlemen already support continuing WOTC.
Dave Camp, MI
Sam Johnson, TX
Kevin Brady, TX
Paul D. Ryan, WI
Devin Nunes, CA
Pat Tiberi, OH
Dave Reichert, WA
Charles Boustany, Jr, LA
Peter Roskam, IL
Jim Gerlach, PA
Tom Price, GA
Vern Buchanan, FL
Adrian Smith, NE
Aaron Schock, IL**
Lynn Jenkins, KS**
Erik Paulsen, MN
Kenny Marchant, TX
Diane Black, TN
Tom Reed, NY
Todd Young, IN
Mike Kelly, PA
Tim Griffin, AR
James B. Renacci, OH